December 11, 2001
The Salvation Army has been in the news twice this year for discriminating against gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. They are victims of misinformation and need to know the truth.
The nation’s oldest charity initially made a move in the right direction by deciding to allow its regional divisions to offer health benefits to the domestic partners of its employees. But it rescinded that offer this fall after pressure from religious-right organizations.
Earlier the Salvation Army had been exposed for trying to work behind the scenes with the Bush Administration to undermine local civil rights laws protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination. The issue arose as the charity was working to become eligible for government funds through President Bush’s Charitable Choice initiative, which makes government funds available to religious organizations.
The Salvation Army, a nonprofit charitable organization, receives from the federal government the same tax-exempt status given to churches.
To let the Salvation Army know how you feel about their discriminatory actions, Soulforce encourages you to participate in a "kettle protest" during the holiday season. Parents, Family and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) and Equal Partners in Faith (EPF) have developed coupons that can be downloaded from their website and dropped into the Salvation Army kettles instead of a contribution.
The PFLAG coupon states that the bearer "would have donated five dollars" but is not doing so because of the Salvation Army’s discrimination against GLBT employees. The EPF coupon allows the bearer to fill in an amount that "will be given" when the Salvation Army adopts a full nondiscrimination policy in its hiring practices and provides domestic partnership benefits to its employees.
Send a message to the Salvation Army this holiday season by participating in PFLAG’s or EPF’s kettle protest. And, if you participate, consider sending an e-mail, identifying yourself as a Soulforcee, to PFLAG (www.pflag.org) or to EPF (www.us.net/epf), thanking them for their coupon and letting them know that you are supporting their Salvation Army kettle protest. Both organizations are strong supporters of Soulforce’s struggle for justice for GLBTs.